Two graduate students awarded provincial nursing scholarships


By Communications Staff
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Two University of Western graduate students were awarded fellowships last week from the de Souza Institute - an organization funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care dedicated to providing Ontarians with the world's best cancer nursing care.
Award winner Nisha Sutherland, received $20,000 to put towards her PhD studies, while master’s student Melissa Snell received $10,000.
“The quality of applicants to this year’s fellowship program was outstanding, and we are very pleased with the recipients,” says Mary Jane Esplen, Director of de Souza Institute. “Our fellowship program provides ongoing professional guidance and support, and will potentially enable these nurses to make a tremendous future impact on cancer care in Ontario.”
Fellowship winners were chosen based on their commitment to oncology or palliative care, and their aca­demic achievements. All Ontario registered nurses pursuing a graduate degree in a health, social science or education-related field were eligible to apply. Along with receiving financial support, winners will also par­ticipate in monthly professional development seminars with nursing leaders.
The de Souza Institute is the first of its kind in Canada, and provides innovative education and mentorship programs for oncology nurses at no cost. Information technology tools enable the Institute to reach out to every corner of the province to provide a mix of academic instruction using Telemedicine and other eLearn­ing methods.
“With the growing cancer patient population, it’s important that nurses develop the skills to address the spe­cialized issues and challenges of caring for cancer patients and their families,” adds Esplen. “Our Institute supports nurses in developing these skills by providing continuing education and mentorship opportunities, regardless of geographic location.”
Premier Dalton McGuinty launched the de Souza Institute in May 2008 with $15 million in provincial fund­ing over five years to support oncology nursing. The Institute is named in honour of the late Anna Maria de Souza, the founder of the Brazilian Ball, an event which has raised millions of dollars for philanthropic causes.

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